There's no doubt that a family camping adventure is the stuff that memories are made of. Children will always recall the fun and excitement of exploring the world with the freedom that comes from pitching a tent and having no demands on their time.
The outdoors – particularly in Australia – is a perfect environment for exploring and adventure. Whether you hit the coast or the country there's plenty on offer for eager little minds and busy little bodies to get stuck into.
The physical and mental benefits of nature play and time spent outdoors for child development are well documented.
We know the benefits of exercise, fresh air, endurance and concentration, but time spent in the great outdoors also exercises your children's knowledge and mental wellbeing.
Anaconda Camping Expert Kristan Jarczak says every child should get to experience camping.
"I think it's just having fun and experiencing the different aspects of the nature – beach or the bush, interacting with nature, spotting the local wildlife that makes camping so great for kids.
"Kids can be susceptible to wasting the days in front screens, when you're outdoors there's no choice but to find your own adventure."
There's also no doubt that planning a family camping holiday can be a logistical exercise, prone to sending parents around the bend! But it doesn't have to be. With the right gear, a bit of forward planning and some tricks up your sleeve, family camping can be an amazing experience for everyone.
Jarczak and fellow Anaconda Camping Expert, Simone Jorgensen have shared some pretty useful tips for making your family camping adventure go smoothly, including some handy uses for glowsticks. Read them below.
Encourage your children to help set up the campsite for extra fun.
Camping with kids tips and tricks
- Glow sticks are an excellent way to keep track of the kids at night and even the pets attached to their collar.
- Headlamps are an inexpensive way of ensuring everyone has their own light when it gets dark.
- Baby wipes are great way for cleaning dirty hands and feet before getting inside the tent and sleeping bags.
- Sort your gear in clear storage containers before you head away to help you stay organised at your campsite.
- Hand sanitiser is always useful, but did you know it's a handy fire-starter too? As it is an alcohol based accelerant, popping a little on your tinder will get your fire started super quick.
- Invest in a tent with Darkroom or Eclipse technology like the Coleman Instant Up Darkroom 4P Tent or the Dune Woodland Cabin Tent so the kids don't wake up with the sun rise at the crack of dawn.
- Encourage your children to help set up the campsite by giving them tasks such as setting up the tables and chairs. This can be a little bit of learning time for the kids.
Tips continue after video …
- Help your children to pack their own backpack. Their involvement in packing their own bag prior to the trip is a good way to get them interested in the upcoming adventure. Fill the pack with the essentials; water bottles, tissues, sunglasses, sunscreen and snacks! Also include a whistle, in case they wander too far.
- Invest in a sleeping bag liner. Popping one inside your child's sleeping bag will not only help keep them insulated, they're an easily washable accessory to whip out – usually full of dirt, sand and leaves – and put through the washing machine.
- Use this camping time as a great adventure for all. There will be lots of experiences and new sights for everyone to enjoy! Go on hikes during the day to see animals, cool plants and insects, and find little bits of nature to collect to bring back to the campsite.
- The Parks Australia website is an excellent guide to many of the best spots around for family camping. Many national parks provide discovery programs for children, usually operated by rangers during holiday periods.